Bogotá D.C., Colombia

The power of plants and natural ecosystems to deliver benefits

How is the initiative shaped by scientific evidence of the potential for plants and natural ecosystems to deliver benefits?

As a scientific research center, the Botanical Garden contributes to the urban agriculture project the generation of technical and scientific knowledge, through lines of work that include social, environmental, economic and research components.

In addition to the 120 species of common use identified in local orchards, on which technological packages are being generated, native species are being incorporated, such as amaranth and various varieties of potato, among others, with production potential, which have meanings and interactions with the species of the ecosystems.

The research center starts from the conservation of biodiversity and the promotion of biological interactions to generate systems that, in addition to being productive, are resilient to climate change, rainfall, as well as the appearance of diseases and pests.

Since this urban agriculture program has an agroecological approach, a synergy is sought between all the components of the ecosystem. In other words, it is a model that enhances the nitrogen and carbon cycles by having several plants in the same space and allowing them to coexist with different living beings and with human beings

This approach is complemented by the launch of the Nature and Health research line, in order to delve into the therapeutic potential of nature in humans, through conscious immersions in nature and hortitherapy, given the extensive existing scientific and ancestral evidence.

How has the city exploited the potential of plants and associated ecosystems to deliver more than one benefit?

Recognizing the nutritional potential of fruit trees, vegetables, legumes, cereals, roots, grains and tubers, among others, as well as seeking different ways to transform them, has allowed urban farmers not only to use what they produce for their own consumption, but also to generate an economic income. For example, transforming plants so that they can last longer gives added value in relation to fresh plants, which, being perishable, have very short marketing time.

The recovery, planting, harvesting and conservation, through agroecological practices that are carried out in the vegetable gardens, contribute to their self-sustainability. By generating compost and organic fertilizers, the production of garbage in the garden is minimized. The waste is reincorporated into the system through practices such as composting and vermiculture, in addition to the reuse of materials such as containers for planting short-cycle species.

It has also been possible to recover and innovate in food preservation and preparation techniques. Farmers are presented with various forms of culinary preparation, thereby generating a taste for the consumption of traditional and healthier foods, which had been stopped being consumed.

The rescue of knowledge, traditions, and experiences through the planting of promising native species such as potatoes, has achieved that these are promoted through the realization of the “Potato Festival” where the appropriation of the knowledge obtained through of the preparation of peasant, indigenous dishes, and renowned chefs in the country.